There’s no denying that the internet has changed the way businesses operate in nearly every sphere. But perhaps the biggest revolution has been in the way we shop and seek out goods and services. You only have to look around the high streets of most towns, which are now dominated by charity shops and chain coffee outlets to see that online shopping has changed things forever. Just think, when did you last browse in a bookshop or look through the small ads noticeboard of your local post office to seek out a plumber?
Whether this revolution in shopping and services is a good or bad thing is not what we’re here to discuss. However, there’s no doubt that if you’re a retail business, you need to keep ahead of the latest trends to stay relevant. So let’s look at how Google Apps for Work can help boost your business.
Improve your customer service
Your customers are now well used to apps and platforms such as Facebook, Tripadvisor and Yelp, and so expect much more interaction with product and service providers than they used to get in the past. Provide a shoddy service, slight a customer or simply have one of those days where everything seems to go wrong, and you can be sure that it gets talked about on the internet, or you get a bad review.
But this interaction can go both ways, and with a bit of planning you can get the internet working on your behalf, and Google’s range of apps can help. After all, when you can call up the power of the internet on a mobile phone or tablet, any customer query is easily answered. If your shop has a Google+ presence, customers can pose questions about your services and products and get an instant answer, provided you’ve got someone monitoring the systems of course.
Such instant feedback helps enhance your customer relations while getting valuable information that you can use to drive future sales and help you plan when it comes to stock and supplies. Of course, you can also get valuable feedback from suppliers and partners in the same way.
Take full advantage of your customer’s mobility
Did you know that nearly 80 percent of web services carried out on mobile devices are made to seek out local services? If you don’t have a mobile presence, you’re not being found online and you’re losing business rival competitors. Google’s range of apps can help your customers find where you’re located. Geo-locators on Google Maps can pinpoint your exact location and in some cases, your premises can be seen on Street View as well. Even more sophisticated is Geo fencing, which makes use of smartphone’s GPS technology to define a geographic boundary and a message or email can be sent when a customer (with the right apps downloaded) is nearby your shop. So they can find you more easily than ever.
Improve staff training
Staff training and maintaining a consistent approach to customer service gets harder as a business grows. As a manager, you probably don’t have time to deal with all questions and queries you get from new employees – especially if they are all working different shifts or are responsible for selling different products. But Google Drive allows you to make training spreadsheets, and videos and store them all in one place. Everyone is on the same page when it comes to customer policy and regulations. And if you ever need to hold a training session, this is easily done via Hangouts. Your teaching sessions can be recorded for future reference or new members of the team as well. What’s more, you can get input and ideas from staff and they can cross train with other teams using Google+.
Manage operations online
The word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications of Google Docs, Forms,, Sheets and Slides are obviously useful to any business, but when they are in the cloud and accessible from any device they can be valuable to any retail organisation too. Using Google forms allows you to create and share stock forms, order supplies and have staff easily update their annual leave, schedules or sick days. This can be done in a few minutes and the whole company gets to see updates instantly. What’s more, they can do it from their mobiles, home computers and tablets. And of course, Google apps such as Hangout can be invaluable when it comes to taking on new staff in the first place. A video interview can save time for both company managers and potential new employees and can be easily scheduled in Google Calendar.
Google Apps can be invaluable in any industry if used properly and with imagination – but the cloud based applications have real value in today’s retail world where people expect more interaction and near instant feedback. If you want to know the best ways to ensure you are getting the most out of Google Apps, it’s worth taking on an expert team who can help you adapt it to your purposes and stay ahead of all the developments.
If you’re running a shop or commercial website and would like to know a little more about how Google Apps can give you the edge over the competition, get in touch with the guys at Damson Cloud and we can help out.